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Ski touring to Conundrum Hot Springs

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Ski touring to Conundrum Hot Springs

Postby Drew » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:27 pm

A friend and I are planning on ski touring into Conundrum Hot Springs outside of Aspen in a few weeks. I was hoping someone here could answer some questions on trail conditions to expect:

-Will the trail be covered in snow from the trailhead all the way to the springs?

-Is this trail popular enough that a path through the snow will be broken? (assuming it doesn't dump snow the day before we go)

-Are there bridges over the creek crossings?

I couldn't find any winter trip reports into the springs that matched our plans, so if anyone has any experience skiing or snowshoeing back to the springs any thoughts or information would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Re: Ski touring to Conundrum Hot Springs

Postby AlexeyD » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:08 pm

Drew wrote:A friend and I are planning on ski touring into Conundrum Hot Springs outside of Aspen in a few weeks. I was hoping someone here could answer some questions on trail conditions to expect:

-Will the trail be covered in snow from the trailhead all the way to the springs?

-Is this trail popular enough that a path through the snow will be broken? (assuming it doesn't dump snow the day before we go)

-Are there bridges over the creek crossings?

I couldn't find any winter trip reports into the springs that matched our plans, so if anyone has any experience skiing or snowshoeing back to the springs any thoughts or information would be appreciated.

Thanks


Having done this hike in the fall and enjoyed it greatly, I've wondered about this myself. From the pieces of info I've been able to find, here are some thoughts.

Yes, it is a route that people do, but it is considered an advanced ski mountaineering objective, and thus I wouldn't count on a broken trail. There are several bridges in the summertime, and I wouldn't imagine that they get removed, so yes, those should still be there. Yes, there will almost certainly be deep snow starting at the trailhead.

However, all of those are relatively minor points; the major one being that the Condundrum Creek valley is one of the most heavily avalanched areas in Colorado, with the summer trail crossing at least half a dozen major slide paths on its traverse above the creek. After storms, it becomes a "valley of death" in which avalanches regularly sweep across the entire valley floor. Even in moderate danger, advanced routefinding skills would be needed to avoid the most avalanche-prone slopes, and the safest route almost certainly does not follow the summer trail. As far as the springs themselves, the normal temperature is about 95 F, but wintertime they can become diluted with snowmelt, thus lowering the temperature and making the soak a less pleasant experience. I was there in early October on a nice, but cool day with several inches of snow on the ground, and I was definitely happy that it wasn't any colder. That said, in good conditions I would imagine that it's an absolutely fantastic experience, and it's definitely a goal.

Good luck!
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Re: Ski touring to Conundrum Hot Springs

Postby Drew » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:51 pm

Thanks AlexyD,

I saw some of what you are saying in various postings but all were vague. Some said that there weren't bridges at every crossing, but I'm glad to know there are. I was concerned about the avalanche danger but wasn't aware that the avalanches would "sweep across the valley floor". If we decide to go this route we will be watching the weather and checking the avy danger before we get there.

Thanks for the info, it"s very helpful.
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Re: Ski touring to Conundrum Hot Springs

Postby AlexeyD » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:26 pm

You're very welcome. Here is a very useful link: see the description for Route 7.2.1: http://www.backcountryskiingco.com/aspe ... heads.html
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Re: Ski touring to Conundrum Hot Springs

Postby illegal_smile » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:28 pm

Having been to conundrum throughout the seasons I'd suggest making it a spring trip. That place is scary as shit in the winter and that's really all I have to say about it. Having done it I wouldn't say not to though, stay safe.
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